The Palmetto Gold Awards Program was established by the Education Accountability Act (EAA) of 1998. As an important part of the education accountability system in South Carolina, the Awards program is designed to recognize and reward schools for attaining high levels of absolute performance, for attaining high rates of growth, and for making substantial progress in closing the achievement gap between disaggregated groups. Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School has been a recipient of The Palmetto Gold Award for the past 7 consecutive years.

About Wil Lou Gray

Our History


In 1921 the late Dr. Wil Lou Gray founded a school which later became her namesake. Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School continues to be the state’s leader in providing alternative education. As an agency of state government, the school provides a wealth of academic and life skills training by SC state-certified teachers in modern classroom settings.


Dr. Gray adopted the motto “Why stop learning?” and dedicated her life to educating the undereducated.

Why Stop Learning?


Changing Lives. That's what we do at the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School. We specialize in helping at-risk young people move past the obstacles in their lives to achieve success. What do we mean by "at-risk"? WLGOS serves students in South Carolina who are 16 through 19 years of age who are on a path toward:


     truancy, or failing at their current school.

     dropping out of school and not completing their education.

     missing a college education or a successful career.

     a negative lifestyle, because of bad choices in their everyday life.


Do you have or know someone who has a student who fits these descriptions?
If so, we are here to help! We help our students achieve their goals by placing them in an environment that is geared toward learning and applying new skills. We are a structured, residential, military-style environment that emphasizes both academic and life-skills education. We are proud to say that our academic program has been awarded the distinction of being a Palmetto Gold School for the 7th year, recognition that we have a first-class program.

Watch our
video and see
what makes Wil Lou Gray
the place where students will
engage their minds, develop character and build relationships with other students.

Featured VIDEO

Wil Lou Gray is a tuition free school, however, students are required to maintain a spending account of $200 for medical costs, field trips, lost items, GED testing fee and miscellaneous items.


Since our students have many individual needs, we have a variety of programs to guide our student to success, including:


         Compensatory Education Pre-Vocational Training

         Pre-Employment Training Career Guidance and Job Placement

         Counseling Healthcare

         Life Skills Self-Discipline


If you have any questions about how the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School might help you, please don't hesitate to contact us, or call us at 803.896.6480. Please note: WLGOS does not receive funding from public schools.

The Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, or disability in admission to, treatment in, or employment in its programs and activities. Inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies should be made to the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School, at 3300 West Campus Road, West Columbia, SC 29170 or call (803) 896-6480. For further information on federal non-discrimination regulations, including Title IX, contact the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at or call 1(800) 421-3481.

Student Life at Wil Lou Gray

A Rich Tradition of Individualized Learning


Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School's curriculum is purposefully designed to prepare each student for a General Education Development (GED) diploma. Classroom work is self-paced and designed to help you learn, even in areas where you may be struggling. Our teachers and counselors are professional educators, state-certified, and dedicated to unlocking the academic potential that you possess. Our award-winning JROTC program is designed to foster your self-confidence, leadership capabilities and team building skills.


Upon entrance to Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School, you will be given the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) and placed in academic and vocational classes based upon your interests and abilities.


If you would like more information about the GED program, visit the South Carolina Department of Education's website on the General Education Development.


Parents of WLG Students

A Message to Parents and Guardians


This residential, military-structured transition may be difficult at first for your child as well as for you. Communication between you and your child is actively encouraged. After the first two weeks of enrollment, students will be permitted to call home on a weekly basis. Each student is also allowed to send and receive mail. During each trimester, there will be two mandatory passes home issued. There will be times when a parent/guardian may visit, including Parent's Day, where students have an opportunity to show off the new skills they are learning to their families. Students are allowed passes for certain weekends, as well as for observed holidays. All parents/guardians are encouraged to contact our Admissions Coordinator, with any questions or concerns.

Ours is a very structured program, and this is a major change for some of our young people. We require strict compliance with the rules, but we also make sure that students know we care about them and their well-being. Your student may complain at first about the discipline, but be sure to remind them that this program is designed very specifically to help them reach their goals. Encourage your student to "hang in there". Many of our students begin the program with complaints and end singing its praises!

Watch Our Video


Some common questions that you may have as a parent can be located on our FAQs page. If you have additional questions not mentioned please contact our Academic Specialist by calling at 803.896.6466.

Campus Visitation


Campus visitation is only permitted from 3:45 - 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday or by appointment.


Wil Lou Gray is proud of our students. The changes that they experience from our specifically designed learning program will aid them in reaching their personal goals.

Contact Wil Lou Gray

Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School Directory and Contacts


The Online School Directory is your resource to contact faculty and staff. For general administrative questions call 803.896.6480 or email them here.


All employment opportunity positions are posted on and applications for employment must be submitted via the SC state website.


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Report fraud, waste, and abuse in state agencies to the Office of the State Inspector General at http://OIG.SC.GOV or 1-855-SC-FRAUD.